If we analyze the three top contenders to win the 2023 World Baseball Classic, we see that their roster construction is a bit different.
The United States have the best offense in the tournament, with MLB stars such as J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, Pete Alonso, Paul Goldschmidt, Tim Anderson, Bobby Witt Jr., Nolan Arenado, Mike Trout, Mookie Betts, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Tucker and Cedric Mullins.
Japan has the strongest rotation, on paper: Shohei Ohtani and Yu Darvish are both accomplished MLB aces, and Roki Sasaki and Yoshinobu Yamamoto will be in the future, probably as soon as 2024.
The Dominican Republic, however, has a more balanced roster.
Their offense is probably not as good and deep as the Americans, but definitely better than Japan’s.
And their rotation is close to being the best but probably not as great as the Japanese.
It’s a much better unit than Team USA has, though.
“The starters for Team DR in pool play will be: Sandy Alcantara, Cristian Javier, Roansy Contreras and Johnny Cueto. Manager Rodney Linares said that it would be ‘a failure’ if the (incredibly talented) DR Team does not make it to the finals of the #WorldBaseballClassic,” ESPN’s Marly Rivera tweeted.
The starters for Team DR in pool play will be: Sandy Alcantara, Cristian Javier, Roansy Contreras and Johnny Cueto. Manager Rodney Linares said that it would be “a failure” if the (incredibly talented) DR Team does not make it to the finals of the #WorldBaseballClassic pic.twitter.com/fOj58axoFn
— Marly Rivera (@MarlyRiveraESPN) March 8, 2023
Alcantara just won the National League Cy Young award, and Javier posted a 2.54 ERA in 148.2 innings.
He also struck out an impressive 194 hitters.
The drop-off between Alcantara-Javier to Contreras-Cueto is too steep to consider their rotation the best in the tournament, though.
Still, Contreras is good and promising and Cueto is experienced and courageous.
They have what it takes to win their second World Baseball Classic.NEXT: Red Sox Writer Notes A Positive Spring Trend